Miyawaki forests, or pocket forests, are the brain child of Japanese botanist Professor Akira Miyawaki. The methodology was further refined by engineer turned forest maker Shubhendu Sharma from Afforestt. Pocket forest, also known as tiny forests, are densely planted (3-5 plants per m2) in soil that has undergone intensive remediation.
The plants that comprise Miyawaki forests are endemic species identified through a botanic survey of local remnant forest/bushland area. As such, the botanical survey provides information enabling the Miyawaki forest to be composed of plant species that would have been growing on the selected pocket forest site prior to the land being cleared. Plants will also be in the appropriate composition to reflect the natural system.
An important part of the Miyawaki method involves intensive soil remediation. Soil remediation is required as soils in urban areas are often contaminated, contain limited microbial activity and can be heavily compacted. Soil remediation occurs to a depth of up to 1 m and includes addition of organic materials and compost tea to add nutrients, bringing life back into the soils and loosening compacted soil. This creates ideal conditions for plant growth and will promote strong biodiverse pocket forests. The amount of organic material that is added to the soil is tailored to the site soil type and nutrient content. Soil type is determined by soil testing at the proposed site.
Planting Miyawaki forests requires a specific planting technique. The technique ensures there is a loose pocket of soil beneath the plant root system enabling the plant roots to penetrate the soil with ease.
Pocket forest site and soil survey. Soils are tested at the proposed forest site to determine the soil type and nutrient content. This is important for ensuring the soil remediation process is tailored to the specific soil site requirements.
Botanical survey of remnant bushland/forest to ensure the Miyawaki forest is planted with species that would have been growing on the forest site prior to the land being cleared.
Pocket forest soil remediation process. Soil excavation occurs up to 1 m deep with the addition of organic matter and loosening of compacted soil. This creates ideal conditions for plant growth.
Planting the pocket forest using the special Miyawaki technique. This technique creates a pocket of loose soil beneath the plant root system.
Staking and mulching the pocket forest. Mulching is an essential part of the Miyawaki methodology as it insulates the soil and helps retain soil moisture, protecting soil microorganisms and plant root systems.